Powerful P&G Ad Implores White America to Step Up and Help Stamp Out Racism

Grey and Cartwright collaborated on 'The Choice' which ran on Oprah Winfrey's town hall

'The Choice' aired for the first time during Oprah Winfrey's town hall on racism in America. P&G

For the past several weeks, brands waded into the conversation about racism in America. Some entered the discussion for the very first time, resulting in suspicion and the notion that it was done for performative support after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

During the second day of Oprah Winfrey’s town hall on race in the United States, P&G launched a powerful ad, not only supporting the Black community but also imploring white Americans to do more to stamp out racism. This spot is the brand’s most direct appeal to the public and follows groundbreaking ads like “The Talk” in 2017 and “The Look” last year.

The ad was created by Grey and Cartwright, the L.A. agency launched by Keith Cartwright last week. Grey New York CCO Justine Armour and the agency’s global CCO John Patroulis partnered with Cartwright on the ad.

Set to the song “Doomed” by Moses Sumney, the 1:15 spot ponders how Black Americans are to respond “when over and over and over that our lives do not matter?”

The ad transitions to the back of a white person, pointing out that “being white in America is not needing to state your life matters. And when your life matters, you have power.” From there, the spot implores white Americans to use their power in a “time to be anti-racist,” and ends with a web address to a resource guide on race.

“The Choice” further solidifies P&G’s commitment to the Black community in America and moving the conversation about race to the top of the country’s consciousness.

“‘The Choice’ is both a statement and a question, both a challenge and an invitation,” said Damon Jones, P&G chief communications officer. “In my lifetime, never have we needed individuals and companies to step up more than in this moment—not with thoughts and prayers, but with deliberate, sustained action. We hope to inspire the silent majority to not only serve as allies but as advocates and activists in the fight for equality. And we’re committed to helping them along that journey.”

2017’s “The Talk,” from BBDO and Egami Group was the first ad from the brand that directly addressed race, with parents explaining the harsh realities of being Black, including a moving scene where a mother explains what to do “when you get pulled over” by the police.

Last year, “The Look” debuted at Cannes Lions. This ad from the Saturday Morning collective—which includes Cartwright and fellow co-founders Geoff Edwards, Jayanta Jenkins and Kwame Taylor Hayford—and Egami focused on the bias that Black men face.

During Adweek’s D&I Summit, P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard outlined some of the brand’s longstanding efforts to support minorities in the country, especially now, as Covid-19 continues to pose serious problems for those communities.

“This is now a time for all of us to step up,” he said. “I really want to encourage everyone to be thinking about what can you do for the specific communities for Black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific American, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, socio-economically [disadvantaged], and older people who [are disproportionately affected], and suffering from the healthcare and income inequities.”

@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.